ISLAMABAD - Absence of collective political will was at the heart of governance challenges in South Asian countries, in particular Pakistan, asserted a panel of experts and academicians addressing an event titled Issues of Governance and Developments in South Asia with a Focus on Pakistan’s Political and Social Developments.

The event was held at the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) here on Thursday.

The panellists for the event included Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal, Dr Salma Malik, Assistant Professor Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Mr Taimur Shamil, journalist, and Mr Faisal Karim Kundi, former Deputy Speaker. The event was moderated by Mr Farrukh Pitafi.

Discussing various developments in Pakistan over the years, the panellists were of the opinion that while there were varying levels of improvements across various sectors, the pace of development in Pakistan had been painfully slow. This, they held, was predominantly due to issues including but not limited to persistent rise in corruption, maladministration, and misuse of resources by successive governments. All panellists shared the opinion that politics in Pakistan had turned into a contest of sloganeering and polemics against political opponents, overshadowing the actual aim of serving the people and developing policies and frameworks to improve their livelihoods.

The solution to some of the main governance challenges lied in developing people-centric policies and approaches instead of needless political point scoring. Considering that Pakistan had the world’s fifth largest population, any reforms to governance infrastructure had to prioritise optimal utilisation of the human resource, in particular, youth, they added.

Furthermore, given that the challenges to governance were spread across several sectors including poverty alleviation, development, education, and economy, all stakeholders in Pakistan needed to develop a collective political will in order to address the challenges troubling the country.